27.10.05 - Happy fingers
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr T (1953) is on Channel 4 tomorrow (Friday 9.55am). Well worth throwing a sickie for. A nightmarish story about the consequences of too much piano practice it was the only Dr Seuss live action film until The Grinch and The Cat in the Hat; gave Sideshow Bob (Terwilliger) his name; and features the longest piano keyboard ever built, as part of the evil Dr Terwilliker's Happy Hands Institute. Hard to do justice to in words - magical, fantastical, deeply strange. More at Bill's tribute site including deleted scenes, biographies and an interview with cinematographer Frank Planer explaining how revolutionary it was for its day. Archive.org has the trailer. More Seuss at The Advertising Artwork of Dr. Seuss, and a catalog of political cartoons.
25.10.05 - I got a Catholic block
23.10.05 - Is that a cake or a meringue?
'Tis the season for a trip to the Tunnock's bakery in Uddingston. I went on about this last October, how proper Halloween cakes (gruesome looking things with a face and cream-filled cheeks) are getting harder and harder to find, but timewarp-specialists Tunnock's still do them. On Saturday they said it was "too early" (when Greggs have been milking it for weeks) so we left empty-handed. The journey wasn't wasted as there's always a great window display and this one takes the cake. The anthropomorphic Teacake-horsemen are pretty surreal, but it's the no neck Tunnock's mascot and his outsize tartan arms that really send it over the edge. It only makes me love them more, this odd mix of self-promotion and self-effacement. Now I'm glad I've got an excuse to go back next week.
20.10.05 - Wrapping all over the world
Tommy and I went into town yesterday and bought some Russian chocolate from a new shop in the High Street. I like foreign sweets - the thrill of finding a nice package and seeing if the product matches up. Scouring corner shops worldwide for beautifully designed wrappers has become a favourite holiday pastime. I have sweet wrappers stashed all over the house from various trips abroad (some going back almost 20 years). Turning this into an online collection makes me feel a little less freakish. As with all of these things, the more you look the more it reveals. A nation's sweets really are a reflection of its psyche, see?
17.10.05 - Frying tonight
13.10.05 - Share some greased tea with me
I'm still sorting through the photos from our Yorkshire trip. Didn't find as many cafes as I expected but still, highlights as follows: 1. The Victoria Cafe in Scarborough. This was closed but the door was open so I asked if I could take some pictures. None turned out very well but it was a bijou little place. Classic in the sense that at first I couldn't tell whether it was really old or nicely done out to look retro. Then I saw the sugar bowls. That has to be genuine class, surely. 2. The Trawl, Bridlington. One of many good things about Bridlington. Sadly we'd had lunch by the time we found it but peeking over the net curtains I could see little diamond-shaped tables and condiments all in a row. Next time, for sure. 3. The Harbour Bar, Scarborough. The piece de resistance. Almost unchanged since 1945 according to Classic Cafes with bright red and yellow fittings and fantastic ice cream-related slogans all round the ceiling. It had a great atmosphere and the food was fantastic. Neil and Tommy had milk shake floats which they said were the most delicious thing they'd ever tasted and I had every pregnant woman's dream, chocolate Horlicks.
12.10.05 - Round up
11.10.05 - Libraries gave us power
The best thing I did this weekend was join the library. Despite working in libraries for years I haven't been a member of one for a long time. I spent so long withdrawing all the good books because no one borrowed them that I lost faith. But we thought Tommy might like it now he's starting to read and trooped down en famille. And it was great. I am currently pregnant (due January) so my main aim is to do as little as possible for the next few months. I have some plans for my confinement, the main one being to watch all my favourite films and/or as many with Peter Sellers in as I can. I wasn't sure quite how to procure them (on a limited budget) but it turns out the library has a small but perfectly formed DVD section with all the classics (loads of Ealing comedies and Powell & Pressburger) and other oddities like Candy. Are all libraries like this now? There's nothing in our local area to suggest it's super cool and I checked out all the librarians expecting some shambling film buff at the back, but no. All hail local libraries. To find the more obscure titles can anyone recommend a DVD rental scheme? Amazon looks pretty good but I haven't checked out the competition. I'm spending a lot of time mentally compiling my shopping list so this one could run and run.
06.10.05 - Art for art's sake
04.10.05 - A sorry state
St Peter's Seminary at Cardross has been voted Scotland's most important modern building by architecture magazine Prospect. A huge concrete ruin loved by architects and urban explorers, hated by almost everyone else, it's the subject of great Restoration v Demolition-style debate. Your average man in the street wouldn't know it, but it's well documented on the web with its own Flickr Pool. The architects, Gillespie, Kidd & Coia were famous for some of Scotland's landmark modernist (and brutalist) buildings, many of them crumbling and/or controversial. The priest at St Bride's Church in East Kilbride (known locally as Fort Apache) reported one parishioner suggesting that the RIBA plaque should be used to stop up the leaky roof. The halls of residence at St Andrew's College in Bearsden which I *think* were designed by GKC are also in a sorry state, derelict and eerie. My aunt stayed here for a while when I was about 4 or 5. I remember visiting her and feeling like I'd landed in outer space. I can't find out much about them now. Any ideas? The college is still going as part of Glasgow Uni. They were filming something when we were there. Everywhere we go, film crews. If it's anything like St Peter's the halls may be listed so impossible to demolish, but impossible to do a thing with. Please comment on the photos if you know what's planned for them. Capsule living anyone?
02.10.05 - Up the hill backwards
This is Saltburn or Saltburn-by-the-Sea to give it its full title - a lovely old Victorian seaside resort a bit north of Scarborough. I saw it in a TV play years ago and vowed to visit one day. It has a real Alan Bennett feel to it, homely but windswept. When we got there we'd just missed The Royal doing some filming and Heartbeat are never out of there apparently. No wonder as it's so unspoilt. Just this great water-powered cliff lift (they don't call it a funicular) and the pier (the most northerly surviving British one) stretching out over a spotless sandy beach. I thought nowhere was that lost in time any more, but look what I found in the shop at the end of the pier - 3 postcards (1,2,3) from before the moon landing.